Reuben Swartz is the founder of Mimiran, the fun CRM for independent consultants who love serving clients but hate “selling”.
He’s also the host and chief nerd on the Sales for Nerds podcast. He went from a background in computer science and software engineering to sales and marketing consulting for the Fortune 500, while struggling with sales and marketing for his own firm.
His mission is to help other independent consultants make a bigger dent in the universe and get more clients by using their talents to teach instead of market, connect instead of network, and help instead of sell.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- The biggest mistake Reuben sees consultants making with their sales and marketing
- How you can make your podcast generate more leads and clients
- How people who don’t like sales and marketing can do a better job at it
- Why prospects take that proposal you spent so much effort on and just jump straight to the price
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:14] Welcome to the high velocity radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. This is going to be a fantastic conversation you guys are in for such a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Mcmorran. Mr. Reuben Schwartz. How are you, man?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:00:38] Oh, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Stone Payton: [00:00:40] Stone. Yeah, I’ve really been looking forward to having you on the air. I got a ton of questions. I’m sure we won’t get to them all, but I’m thinking maybe the best place to start is if you could help us get a little bit of a handle on mission purpose. What are what are you and your team out there really trying to do for folks?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:01:00] Well, I’m out there trying to spare people from going through the pain that I went through when I started consulting and realized that while I could deliver for the projects, I was pretty bad at doing sales and marketing to get new clients. And I was sort of dependent on word of mouth and did a whole bunch of things just terribly wrong. And it took me years to kind of undo the damage I did. And so my whole mission is to make it easier for folks who are great at serving clients, but maybe think of the sales and marketing as being a little bit icky to be able to have actually have a good time with it, make it effective, make it fun so they can help as many folks as possible without having to go through some of the struggles I went through.
Stone Payton: [00:01:40] I’ll bet you in your work you probably see some consistent patterns. What are some of the things that you see? Consultants, the mistakes that they’re making with their sales and marketing and maybe what are what are one or two of the biggest mistakes in your opinion?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:01:56] Well to that I made that I see over and over again. In some ways, I’m glad to see that I’m not alone. On the other hand, I’m like, Gosh, we got to stop folks from making these mistakes. One, you don’t have to be a sales rock star or a marketing genius to be an effective business development person for your own consulting firm. You’ve already got what you need, part of what you need to actually let the world know about that is to define your ideal client profile with enough specificity that the right people can say, Oh, finally, Stone Where have you been all my life? And people can refer and say, Oh, Ruben, you got to talk to my buddy Stone. He does exactly what you need. What we tend to do is go too broad. And as we get panicky about sales and marketing, we think, gosh, I’ve got to go broader to get more people in the door. And unfortunately, that’s exactly the wrong response, because you end up with folks who aren’t a great fit that you have to kind of struggle to sell a little bit. And you don’t attract the real ideal clients because you can’t attract you can’t attract everybody with the same power. So if you try to to to get everybody in the door, you kind of have a weak magnet, if you will. I like to think of it as you got to dial up the strength of that magnet so that you attract the ideal prospects really powerfully and at the same time you’re repelling the folks who belong elsewhere, not because they’re bad people, but because they would be better served somewhere else.
Stone Payton: [00:03:18] So early in the conversation, early in your work with with new clients, do you sometimes get a little resistance pushback to this idea? They pretty good about embracing it pretty quickly.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:03:30] I get pushback almost all the time. And it’s funny because I went through the same process myself, and there are a lot of folks who intellectually say, Yes, I totally need to do that. And then when it comes time to actually doing it, they get very hesitant. And then there are other folks who are like, No, but I serve these people and those folks and these people and so on and so forth. And I was the same way. And I think we are wired by evolution to view this as somehow giving up food choices, basically, Like we don’t like to do that as human beings, no matter how much it makes sense intellectually. And so the trick that I used on myself to get around this was to say, Well, I know that even if I get super narrow, I can’t even serve that whole audience anyway. So I’m not really missing out on anything. But do I want sales and marketing to be easy or hard? You know, when you get that ideal prospect, you have that meeting. Maybe it’s a repeat client or it’s a perfect referral and it doesn’t even feel like there’s any sales of marketing involved. You’re just chatting and the next thing you know, you have a client and everybody’s happy. That’s great versus the folks who aren’t quite the right fit and you’re trying to convince them and talk to them and shoehorn them. Like, I don’t like that. I’m not looking for a sales and marketing challenge I’m looking for to help people and to exert as little energy and effort on sales and marketing as possible. So if I can convince myself, hey, I’m not dialing small versus large market or narrow versus broad niche, I’m dialing easy versus hard on sales and marketing. Well, gosh, let me crank it all the way to easy, and I think that’s a useful way to look at it.
Stone Payton: [00:05:08] I think that’s a great way to frame it. So in your own practice, are you finding that you are gravitating more and more to a certain type of firm, a certain type of practitioner or an industry or other set of characteristics?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:05:25] Yeah, great question. So for folks who don’t know what mentoring is, it is an anti CRM specifically targeted for solo consultants and coaches. So if you have a sales team, if you have if you’re a lawyer, if you’re anything that’s not a solo consultant or coach, real estate person, whatever, like technically it might help you, but it’s not for you. It is for this tribe. And that tribe is more than big enough. I can’t serve the whole tribe anyway, but if I try to do too many other things, then I lose the special magic that’s important for this tribe, right? The whole reason they’re turning to me is because the more traditional tools designed for big sales teams are kind of clunky and don’t do the right stuff for them. So I always encourage folks. Crank things down to make it as easy as possible. And and it’s not easy. It took me years, even with this particular business, to figure out, Hey, my audience is really who I was a decade ago. It’s not all these other because I had other firms, including like big firms, giving me money for this happy and eager to give me more money than than solo consultants do. But it wasn’t quite the right fit. It wasn’t something that was always going to make them happy. It wasn’t something that I was necessarily happy delivering. All right. We got to think about not just do they like what they’re getting from us, but do we like giving it to them? So it’s a process. And I think it’s also very hard to do inside your own head. You’ve got to get feedback. You’ve got to go talk to, talk to your favorite clients and find out what did they really buy from you, What were they struggling with? Because sometimes it’s not what we think we’re selling, what they’re really buying. And it’s also helpful to have a buddy or two that you can bounce ideas off of, because sometimes when it’s our own business, it’s like you’re just staring at it too closely and you can’t really see the forest for the trees.
Stone Payton: [00:07:15] Yeah. So what are some of the features or characteristics of this apparently very unique CRM system that some of us independent folks might really appreciate?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:07:27] Well, it’s funny because we’re talking about all this positioning stuff. One of the things that I haven’t seen in another CRM is there’s a whole screen where it talks about, Well, who’s your ideal client and what are their attributes and what do you do for them, and how is that different than what they would do if they don’t hire you? And what would that look like in terms of an elevator pitch? And what should your homepage look like and your LinkedIn profile and your LinkedIn connection requests and so on, trying to make sure that we are taking advantage of that foundation of having really strong positioning. Because when you’re on a traditional sales team with a traditional CRM, the VP ASL says, Hey, here’s our playbook, here’s our talking points, right? When it’s your business, you get to have to come up with that. And then there’s a bunch of things in there that’s all really designed around. If we can leverage that positioning to have good conversations with the right people, then good things are going to happen. So a whole different take on lead magnets that’s really designed for the solo consultant versus sort of the enterprise like HubSpot lead magnet system and a call mode system so that you can kind of just sit there and have conversations with folks. And I know that as an introvert, this has been really great for me because I used to stare at lists of people and think, Gosh, I know I need to talk to all these folks, but who do I talk to next? And I’d kind of spend half my time organizing the list instead of just actually having conversations with people.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:08:44] So I really like just being able to go in there and say, okay, start commode. Right now I’m going to just focus on talking to Stone. Let’s have that conversation and then move to the next person and so on. And I never thought as an introvert that I could actually really enjoy spending my time having conversations with people all day. Well, it’s because I’m talking to awesome people about stuff that I care about and they care about, right? Instead of me trying to always be closing with some list of prospects who aren’t really a great fit. And then of course, there’s proposal automation built in as well all the way to e-signature. And that’s actually kind of how I started down this whole crazy path. It wasn’t like I said, Hey, let me go build another CRM. The world really needs one of those. I just wanted to know if and when people had read my proposal. So I wasn’t just sitting there leaving those crazy voicemails like, Hey, just wonder if you got my proposal. Just let me know if you have any questions.
Stone Payton: [00:09:32] Waiting on that phantom phone call. Man, that is that is a tough place to be. So. Well, let me ask you about proposals. So, I mean, is it your experience? And if so, why do you think I mean, we spend all this time we’re crafting the language and we make it visually appealing and the framing and then, you know, don’t they just go straight to the price page so often, don’t they?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:09:57] Well, I hear that time and time and time again, and here’s why. Because most people don’t send a proposal. They send a brochure with a quote at the end of it. And so the only thing that applies to the reader is the quote, It’s the price. Instead, we want to craft the proposal as a story, not a brochure. And the hero of the story is the buyer, not the seller. And when you craft a proposal this way, you set up the story. Why the stakes are important, what you’re going to do to help them resolve it. Right? Think about like, you know, you walk into Star Wars and the the letters crawl up the screen and set the the scene for Grand Struggle, and then you’re Obi-Wan help and Luke Skywalker become the real hero. You can do all this in a couple of pages and they’re going to read every word and be very happy to read it. And then when they get to the price, it should look like a wonderful investment for them.
Stone Payton: [00:10:57] You clearly find the work very, very rewarding. You can hear it in your voice. I you have a great deal of passion for this work. What are you enjoying the most at this point in your work?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:11:12] Well, there’s so much of it really. I’m really blessed in that I get to work with people directly, which again, even as an introvert, I actually enjoy it. If I could do it on my terms and I’m a software guy, so I like being able to build solutions that actually when we see these problems again and again, being able to say, okay, let’s go make it so that that particular thing is easier. And I think the overall thing, the reason I’m so passionate about what I do is I struggle with this stuff for years, and I was a frickin sales and marketing consultant. I was helping some of the most successful companies on the planet get better at sales and marketing. And I was terrible at my own sales and marketing. And the more I tried to learn from my very successful clients because I was like, Well, I’m getting paid to sit in these meetings. Like, This is great. I’m going to I’m going to learn from the best, but you can’t apply that to your independent consulting business. The more I tried to do that, the worse things got because I wasn’t being myself. And for a while I just thought, Gosh, I’m just not cut out for this. I’m just too dumb or just too introverted or whatever it is. And I realized instead that there’s sort of this like sales and marketing industrial complex that is geared towards these big companies that I was part of because that’s where the big money is. But if you learn those things, you don’t necessarily learn what’s going to work for you as an independent consultant. And I wasn’t the only one in that boat. I learned that there’s lots of us out there struggling with the same thing and it’s not necessary to go through it as badly as I did. So my whole mission is let’s make it easier for folks so that they can learn the easy way instead of the way that I learned it. And that’s why I’m excited to get up and go to work in the morning.
Stone Payton: [00:12:47] One of the things I just love about your story is you live this and then you you crack the code on on how people who don’t like sales and marketing aren’t enjoying it can do a better job at it. That’s got to that’s got to feel great. Yeah.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:13:05] Yeah it’s it’s really nice. I think we absorbed these lessons from the media and our own experience like we can all think about in our head that crappy, icky, slimy salesperson. We can all bring that up, no problem. But we’ve probably had as many or more great experience with with the salesperson who we never realized we were dealing with a salesperson. It was just someone helping us solve a problem. It could even just be the waitress at dinner the other day, right? Somebody who’s helping you get what you need, taking care of you, your doctor, etc. There’s all these people who are basically doing sales all the time, but we don’t put them in that bucket because it doesn’t feel icky. I’m like, Well, let’s just sell that way.
Stone Payton: [00:13:49] I, I was reviewing the show notes or that I had on you from the from the conversation you and I got to have a few weeks ago, and I’m going to quote at least part of it. And it’s it starts by helping other independent consultants make a bigger dent in the universe and get more clients by using their talents to teach instead of market connect instead of network and help instead of sell. I just absolutely love the way that you’ve framed that up. But that’s what your work in this tool equips you to to do for folks, isn’t it?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:14:29] That’s exactly right. And that was sort of the big mental shift that really helped me. It’s like instead of trying to be the best salesperson on the portrait 100 sales team that I’m consulting with, if I’m just showing up as me, right? I’m a problem solver. I’m an engineer. I just want to help. I’ve got a totally different vocabulary and way of thinking about the world than the guy who’s like, got to make quota, got to always be closing. And it doesn’t mean that one’s writer, one’s wrong, but one was definitely wrong for me. And so when I had Bob Burg, the Go Giver coauthor on my podcast, he said, Reuben, you don’t hate selling. You hate what you mistakenly think sales is. And I think, of course, he’s absolutely right. But for me, it’s just easier to think of it as helping rather than selling and teaching instead of marketing and connecting it to the networking. That way I can just show up as me. And lo and behold, not only is a lot more fun, but it’s much more effective at business development because I’m being authentic and I bring good energy to the table instead of trying to impersonate somebody that I’m not.
Stone Payton: [00:15:28] Well, of course we should all walk our talk. Or as my daddy would say, the audio’s got to match the video. But you perhaps more so than than than other practitioners, you really have to eat your own cooking. You have to be when you’re engaging with these folks, you have to be doing them. So I’m operating under the impression that you’re using the CRM and you are doing these things. You’re teaching instead of marketing, you’re connecting. Instead of networking, you’re helping instead of selling. And one of the ways that you’re doing that is you have your own show. So you have a show where you get a chance to interview people like the Fantastic I’d know of and have met Bob. Bob Burg Tell us a little bit about that experience. What’s that been like for you?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:16:15] It’s been really wonderful and originally I started because I noticed I was getting a lot of questions. This is when I was like, Oh, maybe I know something about sales and marketing that’s actually useful to small business people because I get a lot of the same questions over and over again. Ruben, can I take you to coffee and blah, blah, blah, blah? And I thought, you know, I really like doing this, but this isn’t very time effective for me. I should really write a book and just to answer all these questions, right? And then I was like, Oh, I’m too lazy for that. That seems like an awful lot of work. Why don’t I just bring a bottle of wine and go interview people who are really smart and would be really helpful? And we’ll mix things up in a way that it’s not just Ruben talking all the time, and also that I’ll get to have great conversations with it I probably wouldn’t get to have otherwise and call it a podcast. And so it’s been really fun. And I tell people it’s a good excuse to have a glass of wine with people and call it work, but also to learn. One of the things that I like to focus on is how did people get where they are? It’s not like they stand on the mountaintop and someone gives them some tablets. They arrived in a very human way, the same way we all do. We just have these journeys. And I think that’s really important for folks trying to apply that lesson. It’s not like they just like got enlightenment at some point and suddenly they could do sales brilliantly or something like that. They learn piece by piece, and being able to retrace some of those steps I’ve heard from listeners has been really helpful in letting them figure out how to walk down that path as well.
Stone Payton: [00:17:41] And how much fun it is and the lifelong, genuine, deep relationships that you build on either side of the microphone or at least that’s been my experience. Just a ton of fun. And you learn so much and you you get to know people in a in a deeper way than you do. In my experience over a cocktail at the at the local networking thing, right?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:18:04] That’s right. You have a cocktail on the podcast. It’s like the best of both worlds.
Stone Payton: [00:18:07] That’s right.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:18:09] Well, that’s so true. And I think that’s one of the things I appreciate about you. There are so many people who now are getting into podcasting, and so it’s real transactional. Like I get all these folks requesting to come on sales for nerds who clearly just did a search for sales in a podcast directory and just bombarded everybody that came up in the search results. And I like just like you do, I want to talk to someone first. Let’s just see kind of who this person is and what kind of energy we have together. So I knew when I saw this in my calendar for today, we were going to have a great conversation because we had such a great conversation last time.
Stone Payton: [00:18:39] So some of our listeners, actually many, if they’re not incorporating a podcast or some sort of channel to to reach out and educate folks and build relationships and all the things that we’re talking about, they probably ought at least consider it for those who are doing a podcast or considering it. What kind of counsel, what tips do you have for helping them really use the platform to generate more business? Man To to get more, more leads and clients?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:19:12] Well, I think part of it is what we talked about at the beginning. Let’s make sure you’ve really focused in on your niche. I think it’s tempting to go for who’s going to give me the most audience downloads or things like that, but it’s really a quality game versus a quantity game, especially when you’re getting started. There’s so many podcasts out there, there’s so many choices. How can you position yours so that it is the one that somebody in your audience will really want to listen to versus yet another sales podcast or whatever? And then depending on the nature of the podcast and the nature of your business, you can use it to basically prospect directly with your guests if that fits with your business model and or make sure that when you’re discussing things on the podcast, people can go to the show notes and get a lead magnet that’s going to give them a worksheet, a checklist, whatever it is that’s going to tie in naturally to the episode and let them come into your world. Because the great thing about podcasting is there’s someone who’s actually listening to your voice and sort of getting to know you, which is a little spooky because you’re not getting to know them at all until they come into your world. And so you want to make it really easy for them to open that door the other way and say, Give me that lead magnet and then open the door to a conversation.
Stone Payton: [00:20:31] I am really glad that I asked because I’m asked that question often and I would like to think that I could be as eloquent and as you just were. But boy, just amen to what you to what you said. And again, my experience is that once that relationship is forged, I mean, I really feel like I could reach out to you in a couple of months. And even if I didn’t do this, if I sold office furniture, I could reach out. You’re going to take my call. And if I want, you’ll entertain a conversation about my products and services with an open mind. And and even if for whatever reason, it didn’t make sense to do business with me, Your cousin sells office furniture or you don’t need any. You’re going to try to help me any way you can, because it goes back to we have that real relationship now as opposed to this transactional stuff. So yeah, if you can’t tell me and Ruben, we’re big fans of podcasting or we.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:21:31] Yeah, I think it’s wonderful on so many levels and I think even in between like the podcast and the sale, that relationship and that that follow up conversation which is so important instead of it being, Hey, do you want to buy some office furniture, you have a natural segue into whatever the right topic is, right? Maybe it is the impact of back to work, back to the office in terms of productivity or I don’t know, standing desks or whatever. Right. That that was a subject of an episode. You’re now having a conversation about that instead of can you buy my stuff?
Stone Payton: [00:22:04] Exactly. All right. So let’s talk a little bit more about this, this CRM tool. Is there a way to get your toe wet, kind of look it over or talk with you about it? Or how does someone kind of begin to to to adopt this thing and start using it in their practice?
Reuben Schwartz: [00:22:23] Sure. I guess. Go to CNN.com. Am I am I are a CNN.com and make sure it looks like it’s right for you. Right? If you’re an independent consultant or coach, there’s a reasonable chance that it is. If you’re running a big sales team, it is not the tool for you. And then you can start a free trial from there. And then you’ll get an email from me saying, Hey, let’s hop on a zoom and make sure we can get you set up and all squared away so you can kind of hit the ground running.
Stone Payton: [00:22:47] I love it. And again, you just heard Ruben living into everything he was just espousing here. Go try it out. This is who it’s really for. You know, take it for a little bit of a test drive and then let’s talk it through. I just I just I absolutely love that about this product and about you, man. Well, this has been a very informative, inspiring and invigorating conversation. I, I can’t thank you enough for investing the time and energy to hang out with us for a little while. Okay. Before we wrap, let’s make sure let’s leave these folks with whatever coordinates make sense, make sure they’ve got that website. And if they want to reach out and have a conversation with you, whatever you think is appropriate, email, LinkedIn, website. I just want to make sure these folks can have a conversation with you or someone on your team and tap into your work. Man.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:23:39] That’d be great. Yeah. Go to America and Miami are a CNN.com that’ll take you to LinkedIn free trial. And then there’s also a whole bunch of free resources on there proposal templates, lead magnet ideas, questions to ask and a sales cycle, etc. So even if you’re not looking for a CRM, might be some stuff that would be helpful for you.
Stone Payton: [00:23:58] Well, keep up the good work, man. The work you’re doing is so important, Ruben, and we so sincerely appreciate you.
Reuben Schwartz: [00:24:07] Well, thanks so much for having me on, Stone. I appreciate you.
Stone Payton: [00:24:10] All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Reuben Schwartz with Maimaron and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.